An eight-storey property at the corner of Johnson and Wharf streets will no longer be considered until after the municipal election.
The Northern Junk development, running from 1314 to 1324 Wharf St. was proposed by Vancouver-based Reliance Properties.
A rezoning application for the project was aiming to allow the rehabilitation and seismic upgrading of the two existing buildings, and to make way for a 103-unit residential building with ground floor commercial space, and a ground floor pavilion along the David Foster Walkway.
However, the developers decided to withdraw their application until a new city council is established.
This move comes after a letter of complaint was forwarded to mayor and council by the Victoria Downtown Residents Association against the development.
“This is an eight-floor wedge – a very simple proposal. It does not attempt to modulate height to relate to the lower scale of most of its neighbours,” the letter reads. “It is considerably more massive than the Janion. The western façade takes over the waterfront assertively and regrades the site.”
It continues to say that each version of the project has become cheaper and less attractive, and that “The City of Victoria is giving up public waterfront land at our most obvious gateway into downtown, potentially creating one of the largest properties in Old Town for the sole benefit of a large Vancouver developer who requires large projects of this scale to fulfill its business model.”
Reliance Properties spokesperson Jonathan Lim said the withdrawal is a “technical and circumstantial postponement” as a result of the letter. He added that Reliance has been in frequent meetings with the DRA, and had overall good feedback and suggestions for the designs.
“For some reason we don’t entirely understand, the DRA sent a very negative letter to the council a day before the meeting,” Lim said. “It’s completely inconsistent with what we’ve heard in the [most recent] meeting.”
Lim added that the DRA made a good point in their letter that it wouldn’t be appropriate to have the project referred to a public hearing by one council, while another council would adjudicate it.
“Nothing is changing but design details,” Lim said. “This is just a procedural issue to have a cleaner outcome and [a chance to] speak with the DRA.”